Interesting links of the week

31 January 2008 » Football, Friends, IBM, PHP, Politics, Zend

Well, not exactly this week. I gathered a few links from the end of January that I figured would have some blogworthiness to them.

Instead of dedicating a whole post to each, here they are with a bit of commentary.

First up, because it’s my sister’s first appearance on TV, are Mona‘s remarks to local news in St. Louis on what the female demographic means to this year’s presidential campaigns. While it is a Fox affiliate, congrats are still in order. :)

Yossi Leon announced that Zend Studio for Eclipse was tantalizing close to release. We heard a few more details at NYPHP about its launch. The Zend page carries the official announcement.

If you’re wondering exactly how the new Zend Studio for Eclipse differs from the Eclipse PDT (PHP Development Tools), this chart breaks it all down.

Jon Udell backs up my “.htm is dogsqueeze” argument in his much more eloquent .NET-specific rant, .aspx considered harmful.

I caught a glance of this article on naming the Triborough Bridge for Robert F. Kennedy in the New York Times.

I too am a little weary of the Kennedy badge on so many public buildings, but have an alternate suggestion… Rename the bridge for John F. Kennedy, and rechristen his namesake disaster of an airport for someone worthy of its reputation for mismanagement, George W. Bush.

And finally, though it pains me greatly to see Tom Brady’s name on a Web site I lovingly crafted for all that is good, there is an interesting press release on how IBM and the NFL have gone about making all those random stats available to announcers in real time.

That about wraps it up. Enjoy the weekend, I know I will.

Ultimate Fighting Cats

19 January 2008 » Cats, Potpourri

I recently dug up the following set of notes for a video Web site I was planning a little over 2 years ago. I brainstormed a bit, but in the days before YouTube, I didn’t think the video encoding, storage or bandwidth needs would be feasible.

I still think it’s a fun idea with a lot of potential. Whether I ever find the time to put it together, I don’t know. In the meantime, enjoy…

Editor’s note: the cats are now six and we all live in a house in Bridgeport, CT.

Between working from home three days a week and moving from a two-bedroom apartment to a studio, I’ve begun to really take notice how often my two cats have at it during the day.

I’m using this site to prove my hypothesis that despite her smaller size, Tarball normally wins the fights. It’s also my belief that Tahoma picks most of the fights.

The contenders
Tahoma and Tarball are a pair of 4 year old siblings that I adopted from New Yorkers for Companion Animals when I lived in Manhattan. Tarball is a 7lb solid black female. Tahoma is an 8lb male tabby. Both hail from Queens, NY. Both now reside in Stamford, CT.

The battles
Most battles only last about 3 minutes, and end when one of the contestants runs away, either out of boredom, hunger, or exhaustion. They never draw blood, and their tails never fluff out, so despite the intensity, no one is hurt and I know they are playing.

Scoring
It’s my general feeling that Tarball wins these battles, but I’ve come up with a scoring system to confirm that. Since most battles seem to start when both cats are sleeping peacefully (1, 2, 3) on my bed, and one shifts position which annoys the other, I will consider the “ring” to be my full-size bed.

Maneuver Points
Successful swat to face 1pt
Takedown 3pts
Bite to neck 5pts
Out of ring 8pts
Chasing takedown 10pts
Face-kick hold (you know what I’m talking about) 15pts

Result tally
For every given battle, the following information should be tracked for statistical purposes.

Battle information Value
Start of fight ___
Location ___
Duration of fight ___
Winner ___
Points ___

Rate this battle
One to five stars.

Pictures and video
Thumbnails, all time best battles, highlight montages.

Mashups from IBM at NYPHP in January

10 January 2008 » DB2, IBM, New York PHP, PHP, Zend

On Tuesday, January 22nd, Dan Gisolfi will talk about the latest PHP-based technologies from IBM for developing Web 2.0 mashups at New York PHP.

Centered around the concept of “situational applications,” IBM’s work with mashups targets a growing trend in Web site development.

Applications are increasingly built by end users to meet their particular needs at a particular time without the time and expense of a traditional software development process.

A recent paper in the IBM Systems Journal describes the new approach in great detail.

Situational applications are created rapidly by teams or individuals who best understand the business need, but without the overhead and formality of traditional information technology (IT) methods.

Understandably, traditional PHP developers might be wary of this new technology; as a general contractor would be if a Home Depot opened around the corner.

Instead, IT specialists should embrace the model as a foothold for PHP in the enterprise. To that end, Dan Gisolfi will:

  • Demo IBM’s Mashup Starter Kit (which includes IBM Mashup Hub and QEDWiki).
  • Highlight best practices for designing and assembling data-driven mashups.
  • Discuss IBM’s collaboration with Zend and ProgrammableWeb to bring mashups to the enterprise.

As always, New York PHP meetings are free and open to the public, but you must RSVP by 3pm on Monday, January 21st.

Log Buffer #78: A Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs

04 January 2008 » DB2, IBM, MySQL, PHP, System administration, XML

Happy new year everyone! This week I’m honored to host the 78th edition of Log Buffer, the weekly roundup of database blogs.

A special thanks goes to Dave Edwards of the Pythian Group for the opportunity to start the year right by catching up on the latest developments around the database world. I’ve been blissfully out of the loop planning a wedding, relaxing on the honeymoon, and spending time with family. :)

About this week’s news
Many folks were also off celebrating the holidays (or recovering from New Year’s celebrations), so it’s been a quiet week.

Without an earth-shattering announcement to stir up controversy, there’s been a trend towards end-of-year summaries, predictions for the new year, and time to jot down tips or otherwise reflect on projects that scratch the author’s itch.

I’m an IBM Web application developer – not a database administrator per se – so this week’s edition will offer my biased take on the news. I hope you enjoy anyway. :)

DB2 and Informix
First up, Chris Eaton encourages us to have a look at (and get involved with) the new PHP-based DB2 Monitoring Console project at SourceForge.

The DB2MC aims be the long awaited Web-based console for managing DB2 instances and databases, merging the role of the standalone Control Center shipped with DB2 and the simplified approach to database administration taken by the popular phpMyAdmin project favored by many MySQL shops.

Over at DB2 Magazine, Scott Hayes of DBI asserts that “performing excessive and unnecessary sorts is the number two performance killer in most databases” on the Linux, Unix, and Windows platform. Fortunately, he offers a few tips for neutralizing this elusive killer.

On the mainframe, Robert Catterall provides some tips for maximizing performance when accessing data by tweaking the size of blocks fetched over the network from DB2 z/OS.

Further good news for DB2 customers is that the always popular “Recommended reading lists” for database administration and application development at IBM developerWorks have been updated for v9.

On the Informix platform, the latest issue of the International Informix Users Group (IIUG) Insider has been published, which announces that registration for the IIUG Informix conference is open, announces board elections (man, those middle American states have a lot of electoral clout) and reflects on the year marked by the release of IDS 11 at mid-year.

MySQL
Over at The Open Road, CNET blogger Matt Asay reveals MySQL CEO Mårten Mickos’ reflections on 2007. The widespread adoption of several editions of MySQL 5 was a highlight this year, along with advancements in scale-out features such as replication, partitioning, load-balancing, and caching.

Mickos notes that MySQL continues to build on its strength as a Web database and expand into corporations to complement instead of compete with existing proprietary platforms such as Oracle.

In other integration news, there has been some traction on the planned DB2 storage engine and MySQL port to i5/OS. An IBM Redbook will be published by the end of the month.

Moving down to the bare metal, Mark Robson has decided to put down an explanation for the many users who ask him about the pitfalls of running out of address space (not memory itself) on 32-bit MySQL installations.

Short answer: Spring for a 64-bit machine and stock plenty of RAM, regardless of the underlying operating system. :)

PostgreSQL
Andrew Dunstan offers up source for a conditional update trigger that intercepts modifications if their values don’t differ from what’s already in the database. This filter can save the expense incurred by unnecessary index updates.

Leo Hsu and Regina Obe clarify PostgreSQL’s support for stored procedures (or lack thereof) for a user over at the Postgres OnLine Journal.

They retort; “So the question is, is there any reason for PostgreSQL to support bona fide stored procedures aside from the obvious To be more compatible with other databases and not have to answer the philosophical question, But you really don’t support stored procedures?” Touché, grasshopper.

Robby Russell points us to the call for papers at PGCon 2008, and is himself interested in seeing a presentation relevant to Ruby on Rails Web app developers.

Oracle
Howard Rogers provides a hefty PDF of the courseware he once used to teach a 5 day bootcamp – complete with exercises, slides and explanatory notes on “everything there is to know about Oracle.” But does not that mean the oracle also knows everything about Howard? Think about it.

The seventy megabyte download targets 9i and has been partially updated for 10g, but the underlying themes should still be relevant for 11g.

Richard Foote provides details another subtle gotcha in his series on the difference between unique and non-unique indexes.

A befuddled Steven Karam details his root cause analysis of a problem upgrading Oracle 10 across x86 platforms. He found the solution despite a none-too-helpful error message. He concludes with a suggestion to Oracle for a better way to aid those who run into a similar problem…

Matt Topper announced a new way to keep up with Oracle news, a link-sharing site called Ora-Click.com. For those groaning “not another social network for geeks,” this is a subject specific site and looks quite slick. I can see this model being emulated by other technology or product knowledge domains.

Eddie Awad is already on board with the Ora-Click idea and has offered a few suggestions for making it even more useful.

SQL Server
There have been quite a few posts about learning the new features of SQL Server 2008 ahead of its hotly anticipated February release.

SSQA.net provides us with a pointer to virtual training courses that Microsoft is offering through the end of January ahead of the 2008 general release. This ten part Web seminar series covers topics ranging from high availability to manageability, security, business intelligence, and reporting.

Bob Beauchemin has a trio of tips for using the new features of SQL Server 2008. There are some tips on plan guidance, as well as a pointer on using row constructors.

Thrudb
With all the buzz surrounding SimpleDB in December, Ilya Grigorik, CTO of Igvita details Jake Luciani‘s “faster, cheaper alternative” to Amazon’s offering. So far the reviews are positive. If you’re into document-based databases or S3 storage, this is worth a look.

CouchDB
Anant Jhingran and Sam Ruby have announced that Damien Katz of CouchDB will join IBM over in Information Management. In addition, CouchDB will be donated to the Apache Software Foundation as a top level project.

ObjectStore
Dan Weinreb, co-founder of Object Design which developed ObjectStore, carries on the backlash against Michael Stonebraker with a detailed account of how object-oriented database technology did indeed succeed from both a business and technical perspective.

In a follow-on post the same day, Weinreb delves into more detail about the lessons learned when creating ObjectStore.

In the words of the great General Kenobi, “Luke, you will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

 

And that wraps it up for this week’s Log Buffer. I hope you have a good time reading, but make sure you don’t spend all weekend in front of the computer, there’s plenty of good old analog wild card action to follow. Go Giants!

Have a great 2008!